Hard to believe that we are already planning for the next academic year, but here we are. This year, SBHS math teachers will be posting course recommendations for your student via a comment on their forthcoming semester grade reports. Stay tuned.

It is important to understand that the annual course schedule is based on teacher recommendations and student requests. What that means is that the number of sections of a particular course offered in any given year is based upon the number of students recommended for and/or requesting that class. When it comes to math course recommendations, our goal as a math department is to place your student in the course that provides the appropriate level of challenge.

I would like to point out that our recommendations are just that – recommendations. Students and parents have the right to disagree with the recommendation and to request alternative placement via a formal process. Please understand, however, that we consider our course recommendations carefully before coming to a final decision. It is here that I offer a word of caution, and I will do so by way of example.

Suppose that, based upon teacher recommendations and student requests, the schedule for next year includes two sections of AP Calculus AB and one section of Calculus Level 1 (which covers about half of the content of AP Calculus AB). Suppose further that each section has 25 students. After a week or two of classes, 10 students from the two AP Calculus AB sections realize that they would be better placed in Calculus Level 1, and therefore request a level change. Based on the class size of 25 in Calculus Level 1, there is not enough room for all 10 students to switch into that class. That leaves five to seven students essentially out of luck, as there is now no course available to them – the pace of AP Calculus AB is too fast, and Calculus Level 1 is closed.

I offer this example to underscore the importance of the appropriate placement of students now – as we build the schedule. While we have some flexibility in the fall when we begin the new academic year, we can only flex so far. That being said, if you or your student are unhappy with the recommendation made by their math teacher, please communicate with the teacher to better understand the recommendation.